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If you own a home in San Diego, it’s certainly a good time to sell. As of October 2023, prices were up 7.6 percent year-over-year, according to Redfin data. And while plenty of people want to live in this coastal California haven, there simply aren’t enough homes available to buy. It’s a good feeling to be a seller in a seller’s market.
Selling your house fast in San Diego
A San Diego home is a highly sought-after asset: The median sale price of properties here is $915,000, per Redfin, and homes typically sell in just 14 days, with an astounding six average offers. So if speed is your top priority, chances are you won’t have a hard time selling quickly. The best time to sell a house tends to be in spring and summer, though, so winter sales might take a bit longer. (Is it ever really winter in San Diego, though?)
Before you decide to list your home here, you’ll need to plan for where you’re heading next. Remember that the current housing-supply shortage isn’t limited to San Diego alone; it’s fueling high prices in most places around the country, and mortgage rates are high nationwide as well. So, if you’re planning to buy a new house once you move out of your old one, be sure to budget for the table-turning experience of being a buyer in these challenging conditions.
Things to consider when selling your house in San Diego
Don’t let the seller’s market fool you into thinking that selling will automatically be a smooth and easy process. Here are some questions to think about as you enter the market.
How fast do you need to sell?
Homes in San Diego tend to sell quickly, but getting from a signed contract to the closing table can take much longer. Plus, high interest rates mean buyers may have a more challenging time securing the financing they need. Think about your personal situation: Can you afford to let your home sit on the market for longer than expected? Are you in a rush to relocate for a new job? Your timeline will have an impact on your sales strategy.
What condition is your home in?
Most buyers want a move-in-ready home — meaning they’d rather not have to purchase a place in need of major work. When was your roof last replaced? Is your HVAC system running well? One of the keys to selling your house is making sure that buyers will be impressed. Try to strike a balance between making crucial repairs without investing in anything too major: Bigger projects, like redoing your entire kitchen, will likely not recoup their costs.
What taxes and other fees will you have to pay?
Selling a home isn’t all profit: You need to factor in a range of selling costs. The biggest chunk of cash will likely be real estate commissions, which are typically between 5 and 6 percent of a home’s sale price. On a median-priced $915,000 San Diego home, 5.5 percent comes to more than $50,000.
You will also likely need to pay real estate transfer taxes, which cover transferring ownership of the home to the buyer. In San Diego, the rate is $1.10 per $1,000 of value. So on a $915,000 home, the transfer taxes would be just over $1,000.
There are more fees to consider, too, including the amount you’ll owe for the remainder of your property tax bill and fees for a real estate attorney, if you hire one. (Which you should with this much money at stake!)
What potential issues must you disclose?
California requires sellers to complete lengthy disclosure documents that highlight everything from potential flooding and wildfire hazards to any deaths on the property in the last three years. Basically, you need to let a buyer know about any potential problems that could impact the value of the home. Be transparent and include every detail to avoid potential legal trouble in the future.
How should I prepare my home for sale?
First impressions are everything in real estate. That means more than just tidying up. Start with the outside: Add some quick curb appeal with simple, low-cost touches like power washing the driveway, cleaning the windows and painting the front door.
Then, focus on the interior. While your home’s layout may work for you and your family, it might feel cluttered or outdated to someone else. One way to address these issues is with home staging. It will cost you some money — anywhere from a few hundred bucks for light design work to thousands of dollars for monthly furniture rentals. But that investment can create a big return in the form of higher offers and/or a quicker sale.
The right real estate agent can make all the difference when you’re ready to sell your home in San Diego. A Realtor handles all the headaches — taking high-quality photographs, analyzing market pricing, marketing the listing and hosting open houses — and knows the intricacies of the local market.
However, there are faster alternatives to a traditional agent-assisted sale:
- Cash homebuyers and iBuyers: San Diego is home to plenty of companies geared toward homeowners who want to sell for cash quickly, from small local outfits to national iBuyers like Opendoor. While it might sound good to get an offer on your home within 24 hours of submitting a form online, keep in mind that you will likely get a lower offer if you go this route.
- Do it yourself: You can also consider the FSBO, or “for sale by owner,” approach. This can be tempting, as you won’t have to pay a listing agent’s commission or work on anyone else’s timeline. However, it takes a lot of work, and you’ll still have to pay your buyer’s agent, so you might not save as much as you think.
Price to sell: A seller’s market doesn’t mean you should list your home for an insanely high price right off the bat. Instead, take steps to understand what your house is worth. Look at comps in the area to get an idea of the price recent sales have commanded. If homes in your neighborhood are selling for around $900,000 and you list yours for $850,000 you’re sure to attract attention fast — and you may even spark a bidding war.
Getting to closing day
After you make a deal with a buyer, there will be plenty of additional steps before you receive the money. While much of the work falls on the buyer’s shoulders, you will need to handle some responsibilities, including making any repairs included in the contract (be sure to save your receipts to prove these were completed) and cleaning it up for the buyer’s final walk-through.
Your agent and attorney will handle most of the work on closing day. Just be sure to find out how much you need to pay in closing costs, and get a cashier’s check for the total amount. Now, it’s officially time to wave goodbye to your San Diego home.